First Year BA Drama, Theatre and Performance 2013/2014

The page below provides an overview of courses, a calendar, and course descriptions for 2013/2014.


First Year, 2013-2014

In the first semester, students take four classes

Ø    DT103: Twentieth Century Theatre & Theories in Performance, Tuesday 2-4, AC204

Ø    DT101: Introduction to Performance, Wednesday 4-7 BOI Theatre

Ø    DT106: Introduction to Western Classical Drama in Translation Tuesday 11-1 (TB307) OR Thursday 11-12 (AM109) and Thursday 4-5 (AM107)

Ø    Weekly tutorial, time to be confirmed.


In the second semester, students take the following three classes:


Ø    DT104: Performance History and Practice, Tuesday 2-4 BOI Theatre

Ø    DT105: Irish Traditional Arts: Performance, Performativity and Practice, Tuesday 11-1, TB307

Ø    DT102: Theatre and Performance in Practice (Macnas), Wednesday 4-7 BOI Theatre

Ø    Weekly tutorial, time to be confirmed.




  • 7 September (Saturday) – 1BA Orientation Day
  • 9 September – 1BA Week 1



  • 12 October - visit to Dublin Theatre Festival
  • 28 October – bank holiday – no classes



  • Friday 29 November – end of teaching for 1BA



  • 6 December – deadline for submission of all First Year work.
  • 9 December – First Year Exams start
  • 17 December – All Exams end.



  • 13 January – semester 2 teaching begins for all years



o      13, 14, 15- Yerma, Druid Theatre: Max Hafler production with 2BA students.



  • 10-12 March- Electra, Bailey Allen Hall: Charlotte McIvor production with 1/2/3BA students
  • 17 March – Monday bank holiday – no classes



  • 4 April – semester ends for all years
  • 8-13 April – Cuirt Festival: Andrew Flynn production with 3BA students.
  • 11 April – deadline for submission of all undergraduate and postgraduate work.
  • 15 April – exams begin for all years
  • 17-23 April – Easter vacation – university closed (Easter Sunday is 20 April).
  • 24 April – exams resume for all years



  • 14 May – exams end for all years
  • Other dates will be announced during the year.




This year there will be three student productions. Yerma will be directed by Max Hafler in Druid Theatre in February 2013, and Sophocles’ Electra, adapted by Frank McGuinness,will be directed by Charlotte McIvor as part of the university theatre festival in March. The Third Year BA Connect students will produce a play directed by Andrew Flynn as part of Cuirt in April 2014.


First Year students will be entitled to audition for the production of Electra in October/November. If they are chosen to participate they will be able to do the production for credit in lieu of one of their second semester modules.


Students who are not successful in audition may, if they wish, choose to be involved in the production in some other creative capacity such as stage management, assistant direction, etc.




Students will be told during the semester about:

  • Theatre visits
  • Workshops from visiting practitioners
  • Druid Theatre workshops
  • Other special events and performances







DT103: Twentieth Century Theatre & Theories in Performance

Semester 1 (2013-14) Tuesdays 2-4.

Tuesday 2-4, AC204

Prof Lionel Pilkington (English) and Prof Rod Stoneman (Huston School of Film and Digital media)



Course Description

What’s the connection between acting in a society and acting on a stage or in a film, between acting up and acting a character? This course offers a series of reflections on performance in the 20th century (including performance for film and television) by means of a survey of a number of major practitioner-theoreticians including Konstatin Stanislavski, Bertolt Brecht, Antonin Artaud and Augusto Boal. Building on the students’ experience of theatre and reading knowledge of plays, the course introduces a number of key concepts such as ‘modernism’, ‘naturalism’, ‘theatre of cruelty’ and ‘theatre of the oppressed’. The course places a strong emphasis on student participation in class discussions.


Course texts:

Extracts from K. Stanislavsky, An Actor Prepares; B. Brecht, Brecht on Theatre, Antonin Artaud, The Theatre and its Double, Augusto Boal, Theatre of the Oppressed.

Supplementary Reading: Tracy C. Davis (ed) The Cambridge Companion to Performance Studies, Cambridge: CUP, 2008.



seminar presentation (15%), short (1000 word) essay (15%); longer (1500 word) essay (35%); in-class exam (25%); participation (10%).

Learning Outcomes:

  • Knowledge of key developments relating to theories of acting in the 20th century
  • An understanding of conceptual categories (e.g. modernism, naturalism, etc) underpinning 20th century theatre
  • An ability to reflect on the problematics associated with acting in the theatre and for film and television.


Provisional Timetable —Please check for a final version of this schedule in early September


10 Sept             Prof Stoneman. ‘The role of the professional and non-professional actors in film

17 Sept                         Amateurs and professionals in theatre

24 Sept                        Extract from Stanislavski An Actor Prepares (1934)

1 Oct            Extract from Antonin Artaud The Theatre and its Double (1938)

8 Oct                                    Extract from Brecht on Theatre (c. 1948)

15 Oct                                    Extract from Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed (1974)

22 Oct                                    ‘Happenings’ in the 1960s. Extract from Richard Schechner

29 Oct            Acting and Deconstruction (1)—Philip Auslander’s ‘Just be yourself’ (1997)

5 Nov                                    Alternative theatres

12 Nov                                    Theatre and politics; theatre and ethics

26 Nov            Prof Stoneman The role of chance in film





DT101: Introduction to Performance, Wednesday 4-7 BOI Theatre

Lecturer: Dr. Charlotte McIvor


The objective of this course is to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of an actor’s process that is rooted in the dramatic works and teaching approaches of the contemporary Western theatre, with an emphasis on naturalistic acting technique and texts. You will be engaged in an active and experimental process that draws on your artistic and intellectual skills in order to furnish you with an understanding of basic naturalistic acting terminology and processes. You will learn techniques for relaxation and concentration, as well as being introduced to vocal work for the actor.  You will use your spoken and written skills to collaborate with your peers and work on scene and monologue assignments.


Required Texts: Constantin Stanislavski, An Actor’s Work on a Role, translated by Jean Benedetti; Other short readings to be assigned by instructor and made available; Assigned plays for scenework and monologue.




10% Class Participation and Exercises

25% Scene Presentation

25% Monologue Presentation

20% Bi-Weekly Writing Assignments

20% Final Research Paper


Learning Outcomes and Objectives


By the end of this module a successful student will:

  • Develop a basic knowledge of acting terminology;
  • Utilize acting vocabulary to work actively on scenes and monologues collaboratively with partners;
  • Write specifically about your performance work as well as other performances that you have observed using the vocabulary that we have implemented in this class;
  • Explore the ethics, challenges and rewards of collaborative creative work. 




DT106: Introduction to Western Classical Drama in Translation Tuesday 11-1 (TB307) OR Thursday 11-12 (AM109) and Thursday 4-5 (AM107)

Course Convenor: Gabriele Behrens. Other academic staff: Laura McLoughlin, Kate Quinn, Maire Aine Ni Mhainnin and others.


Course Outline:


Learning Outcomes:

Students will be able to discuss a range of European drama knowledgeably.

Students will increase inter-cultural competences through engaging with dramatic texts across languages.

Students will be able to write a comprehensive description of the main dramatic trends in a range of European cultures.




  1. One 1500 word essay on one of the plays covered during the course. (Take home).


  1. MCQ Class Test during last class with questions on all the material covered.







DT104: Performance History and Practice, Tuesday 2-4 BOI Theatre

This course will be taught by a new Drama lecturer, so a course outline will be available in late 2013. The course will be practically-focused and will aim to build on the work in semester one.




DT105: Irish Traditional Arts: Performance, Performativity and Practice, Tuesday 11-1, TB307


Module director: Dr Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, Centre for Irish Studies


Module description: This course is an introduction to the critical field of performance studies and Irish traditional arts.  Specifically, this course will examine both the historical and current performance practice of Irish traditional dance, instrumental music and song.  Drawing particularly on the anthropology of performance and more recent research on performativity, students will examine issues of aesthetics and the presentation of community and self in these performance traditions.  In this way, students will examine traditional arts performance as a constitutive and dynamic part of social and cultural life.  Central questions such as what constitutes traditional performance and the transformative potential of dance and music will be explored and exemplified through a variety of perfromance platforms.  


Module outline:

Week 1: Boundaries and gaps: Irish traditional arts practice

Week 2: Performance and performativity: Aesthetics and Irish traditional arts

Week 3: House dances and sessions

Week 4: Dancing, the body and traditional practice 1

Week 5: Dancing, the body and traditional practice 2/ workshop

Week 6: Traditional Irish Song 1: Sounds, texts and contexts

Week 7: Traditional Irish Song 2:Singing in the new millenium/ workshop

Week 8: Irish traditional arts and the Diaspora 1

Week 9: Irish traditional arts and the Diaspora 2

Week 10: Gender and practice in the traditional arts

Week 11: Authenticity, traditional arts and the West of Ireland  

Week 12: Student presentations and review (this class may run into lunchtime!)


Learning outcomes:

  • a general knowledge of the primary performance practices within the traditional arts   in Ireland, particularly in the West of Ireland historically and currently
  • an ability to apply select performance theory to those practices
  • Possess skills in textual and performance analysis.
  • Perform research and critical tasks individually and in teams.




Module requirements and assessment:

  • Attendance at all classes is required. 
  • Students will prepare and discuss selected readings/performances each week at class.
  • Students will be required to attend specific performances during the semester.  Details to be provided.


  • Assessment is as follows:

o      In-class oral critical response and facilitation   10%

o      Written critical response         10%

300 words, due one week after oral response

o      Workshop and event  review (x2)      30%

600 words

o      In-class research presentation         10%

o      Final essay               40%

1200 words


Helpful links:

English Department style sheet

Irish Traditional Music Archive

Academic Writing Centre at NUIG

Full reading list will be uploaded to Blackboard during Week 1.


Contact details and office hours:


Room 206, Centre for Irish Studies

Distillery Road


Class reading assignments:

Week 1: Boundaries and gaps: Irish traditional arts practice

Kapchan, Deborah.  ‘Performance’. The Journal of American Folklore. Vol. 108, no. 30 (1995) 479-508.

Carolan, Nicholas. What is Irish Traditional Music?  Dublin: Irish Traditional Music Archive, 1989. 1-4.

Glassie, Henry. ‘Tradition’. Journal of American Folklore.  Vol. 108, no. 430 (1995) 395- 412.


Week 2: Performance and performativity

Del Negro, Gioanna P. and Harris M. Berger. ‘New directions in the study of everyday life: Expressive culture and the interpretation of practice’. Identity and Everyday Life: Essays in the Study of Folklore, Music and Popular Culture. Eds. Del Negro and Berger. Connecticut: Wesleyan University Press, 2004. 3-23.


Week 3: House dances and sessions

Kaemmer, John.  ‘Uses and functions of music’. Music in Human Life Anthrolpologival Perspectives on Music. Texas: U of Austin Pess, 1993.  142-170.

Hall, Reg. The Social Organisation of Traditional Music Making: The Irish in London after the War. Cork: Traditional Music Archive, 1995.

Hall, Reg. ‘Heydays are shortlived: change in music‑making practice in rural Ireland 1850‑1950’. Croisbhealach and Cheoil/The Crossroads Conference, eds. Vallely et al. Dublin: Whinstone Music, 1996. 77‑81.


Week 4: Dancing, the body and traditional practice 1

Ní Bhriain, Orfhlaith.  ‘Irish dance music-For the feet or for the soul?’. Close to the Floor: Irish Dance from the Boreen to Broadway, eds. Moloney et al. USA: Macatar Press, 2008. 13-21.

Wulff, Helena. ‘Winning the World’s’. Dancing at the Crossroads. New York: Bergahn Books, 2007. 91-107.


Week 5: Dancing, the body and traditional practice 2/ workshop

Morrisson, J’aime.  ‘”Sound-dance”: Mapping the acoustic space of Irish dance’. Close to the Floor” Irish Dance from the Boreen to Broadway, eds. Moloney et al. USA: Macatar Press, 2008. 57-66.


Week 6: Traditional Irish Song 1: Sounds, texts and contexts

Croker, Thomas Crofton. The Keen of the South of Ireland as Illustrative of Irish Political and Domestic History, Marrers, Music and Superstitions. 2-21.

Ó Laoire, Lillis and Sean Williams, ‘Sean-nós singing in theory and practice’. Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.  27-45            .



Week 7: Traditional Irish Song 2: Singing in the new millenium/ workshop

Ó Laoire,  Lillis.‘Traditional Music: Ceol Traidisiúnta, Údair Úra/New Authorities: Cultural Process and Meaning in Gaelic Folk Song. Hibernia Review, Vol.3 No.3: 131-144.

Munnelly, Tom.  ‘After the Fianna: Reality and perceptions of traditional singing in Ireland’. The Journal of Music in Ireland 1 (2001) 18-24.


Week 8: Irish traditional arts and the Diaspora 1

J’aime Morrisson, ‘Dancing between decks: Choreographies of transition during Irish migrations to America’. Éire/Ireland XXXVI/2 (2001) 83-97.

Leonard, Marion. ‘ Performing identities: music and dance in the Irish communities of Coventry and Liverpool’. Social & Cultural Geography Vol. 6 no. 4 (2005) 515-529.

Week 9: Irish traditional arts and the Diaspora 2/Staging the Diaspora

Mick Moloney, ‘Irish Music on the American Stage Ó Riada Memorial Lecture Series. Cork: Irish Traditional Music Archive, UCC.

Week 10: Gender and practice in the traditional arts

Helen Lawlor, ‘Gender and the Irish harp’, The Irish Harp 1900-2000. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2012.

Ó Laoire, Lillis and Sean Williams, ‘Irish masculinities, the Irish tenor and the sean-nós singer’, and ‘Fighting words, fighting music, the performative male’ in Bright Star of the West: Joe Heaney, Irish Song Man. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2011. 139-176.


Week 11: Authenticity and Irish traditional arts

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile, ‘Séamas Ennis, W.R. Rodgers, and Sidney Robertson Cowell on the traditional music of the Aran Islands’. Anáil an Bhéil Bheo: Orality and Modern Irish Culture, eds. Cronin, et al. Newcastle  Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars, 2009. 68-86.


Week 12: Student presentations


Note readings may change.






DT102: Theatre and Performance in Practice (Macnas), Wednesday 4-7 BOI Theatre

Macnas Module in Street Theatre


About Macnas

Macnas is Ireland’s premier site-specific, spectacle and Processional Company and is based in Galway. Performed outside of conventional theatre venues, the company’s work is presented with impact in an immediate and intimate manner. Under Artistic Director Noeline Kavanagh, Macnas creates high-quality performances in association with visual artists, composers, performers, designers, engineers, pyro-technicians and puppeteers. This combination of diverse art forms, bespoke visual aesthetic, live performance, original composition, and narrative provides powerful ways of connecting audiences, site, participant and performance in an interactive, immediate, and profound way.


Macnas captures elements of the unpredictable, moments of magic, infusing their work with a live, raw, unique energy. Macnas sits in a world on the edge of things where stories emerge and journeys begin, inviting unlikely encounters and exhilarating experiences for audiences both nationally and internationally.


Course Outline

This performance workshop module in Street Theatre Practice is delivered by Macnas’s core performance practitioners. It reflects the signature style of the company and how it approaches the creation of a street theatre show. Macnas places an emphasis on the creation of story and character (situation, behaviours, passions) using a dynamic approach incorporating poetry, visual art, music, and performance.


In the course of the module, students have the opportunity to draw from the ever-evolving repertoire of Macnas. The aim is to give a practical understanding of the company’s approach to narrative-led street theatre practice with a strong visual dynamic.


The module will be delivered in a variety of locations - on campus at NUI Galway, Macnas workshops, and an outdoor performance space. The students will visit the Macnas workshop in Fisheries Field which houses the company’s administrative office, rehearsal space, small props, masks, and costume department.


The course comprises of a twelve week practical module (3 hour workshop) with an assessment taking place on week 6. The aim of the module is to collectively create a process-led, in-houseperformance in an outdoor location in April 2014. Students will explore work outside the conventional theatre space and will be invited to respond to their surroundings. As this will be an ensemble presentation attendance at all workshops is a course requirement; students who do not attend may not be allowed to participate in final performances.




Course Introduction Session

The course introduces five key elements in street theatre making: site, story, performance technique, audience, and visual aesthetic.  These elements are explored through a series of workshop sessions delivered by a Macnas performance director. The visual aesthetic and costume content involve site visits and fittings with a Macnas costume designer and a Macnas image maker. The Artistic Director will create the artistic content of the module, facilitate a session with students, and oversee the delivery of the module.


The module includes a session which explores the current working practices of the company, facilitated by the Macnas General Manager. Students will gain an insight into the street arts spectacle sector pioneered by Macnas pioneered in this country. Topics will include funding, PR, communications, production and technical requirements in realising a large scale production. Students will also gain an insight into the process of organising a touring schedule for our shows nationally and internationally.


The artistic arc of the company and current artistic repertoire and signature style are explored. A session delivered by the Artistic Director will introduce students to the inspiration driving the current Artistic Vision: the themes, stories and content of the work and how the work itself is realised.



Street Theatre Practical Sessions

Key Elements for Students:


  • Examine the role of story, image, site, and character within the genre.


  • Develop street performance techniques and skills.


  • Understand the role of a visual art aesthetic within a street theatre show context.


  • Perform outside the conventional theatre space.


  • Explore the role of the audience in relation to space and performance and how this might differ from more conventional theatre productions


Performance Workshop Strands 


1.     Site

2.     Story

3.     Performance Technique

4.     Audience

5.     Visual Aesthetic



In street theatre, the site is integral to the show, and students will explore the relationship between audience, location and performance. The architecture, mood, and history of the site will be discussed in terms of how it can impact upon the work. Students will gain insight into how shows, stories, characters, and scenography have been inspired by sites, streets and landscapes.



All of Macnas’s street theatre evolves from story, using a dynamic approach to poetry, painting, music, image and text.  Students will learn to absorb, interpret, and invent story from these templates and will also be encourages to play with story, develop characters, and create motifs.


Performance technique/character

The emphasis is on performance in the outdoors, looking at stamina, alertness,discipline of working as a group, physical and vocal practice. This is explored through physical and vocal reparation, Movement analysis, Neutral mask, Creation of character (in situations, behaviours, patterns), Dynamic study of nature as an approach to acting characters using elements and materials including colours, light, plants, animals and mask. Students will create and devise characters inspired by these techniques and develop this work as a company ensemble.



Students will explore how to build atmospheres for an audience using, visuals, physicality, narrative, and voice.  They will map out the journey of an audience, looking at the role of the audience in the action and they will be encouraged to incorporate techniques within character to engage with the audience as a group in performance or as intimate one on one performance experiences. They will explore boundaries in performance technique between audience, performer and space within a street context.


Visual aesthetic

An important dynamic in creating work on the street explores the role of visual art and costume within the story arc. Students will gain an insight into how images emerge from story and how performers who inhabit characters relate, respond, and connect to the visual image.  Students will be introduced to the role of prop and visuals within the context of creating a Macnas style street theatre show. The large-scale street images evolve in the same way as characters within the show, out of a shared narrative.  The costumes and make up design are intrinsic to the show and its overall aesthetic. Students will gain an insight into how the elements are combined to create a signature Macnas show. In addition to this they will be encouraged to look at the relevance costume plays in character definition.